Localism obstacles must be removed

Having pondered recent decisions and the status of HDC’s Local Plan, I (like many others) am increasingly concerned at the continued risk of inappropriate development.

Without approved Local Plans, developers will continue to win appeals due to the NPPF presumption in favour of development, whilst LAs struggle to get their Local Plans approved by an Inspector, before any further changes to legislation arrive.

It seems that 50 out of 96 LAs have submitted Local Plans, but 44 of those have been returned to the relevant LA, because the Inspector considers the housing projections to be too low.

Now apparently an appeal for 550 homes east of Billingshurst is to be decided by Eric Pickles, in what may be a landmark ruling, which will no doubt be based on “presumption in favour”.

As stated by Francis Maude, if planning decisions are taken away from local people, it is likely to breed distrust in the planning system & to leave the countryside without protection.

So, what LAs need now is to be left in peace to complete plans, without having further legislative changes imposed on them and without interference from Inspectors, or Ministers.

Of course that could result in fewer new houses being projected in Local Plans, which might not suit everyone, but perhaps I am being unduly cynical.

If the Government really wants Localism to work, then it must act to remove all of the obstacles in its path.

Roger Arthur

Horsham District Council